New vice commander blazes into CAFB
By Senior Airman John Parie, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 08, 2007
COLUMBUS AFB, Miss. --
"A successful Air Force career is a marathon, not a sprint."
These are a few of the guiding words from Col. Jefferson S. Dunn, the 14th Flying Training Wing's newest vice wing commander.
Colonel Dunn's military journey started in 1982 at Birmingham-Southern College when he joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps as a way to pay for college.
"Soon after joining the ROTC program my main goal of paying for college gave way to the desire to serve a greater cause than myself," said the Alabama native. "I enjoyed the idea that I would have a part in defending the country and our way of life."
During this time he meet his wife, Susan, and they were married six months prior to his commissioning.
After graduation they packed their bags and headed off for their first assignment at Mather AFB, Calif., where he attend Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training followed by B-52 Electronic Warfare Training at Castle AFB, Calif.
With his initial training behind him, they moved to Blytheville AFB, Ark., where he served in the 340th Bombardment Squadron.
"Flying aboard B-52's as an electronic warfare officer is where I develop the passion for flying and to be a pilot," said Colonel Dunn. "The squadron had a great heritage and I loved being part of an aircrew in Strategic Air Command."
The Strategic Air Command was in charge of America's bomber-based and ballistic missile-based strategic nuclear arsenal from 1946 to 1992.
"The experience there convinced me that the Air Force was for me and to make it a career," he said.
While at Blytheville AFB, then Captain Dunn was selected to attend Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese AFB, Texas.
After follow on training in the C-141 at Altus AFB, Okla. Colonel Dunn and his family were stationed at Charleston AFB, S.C.
"It was here I meet one of the most influential people in my Air Force career," he said. "I was the executive officer for Brig. Gen. Steven A. Roser, 437th Airlift Wing commander."
"I learned a lot from the passion, energy and optimism he brought to the wing," said Colonel Dunn. "He also taught me the importance of looking for the win-win solution to problems and how to maintain a healthy work-family balance."
Colonel Dunn said the biggest change he has scene during the span of his Air Force career was at the end of the Cold War.
"Before the wall came down we had a singular enemy and very clear missions and objectives," said the senior pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours. "Now the environment is much more complex, the enemy is no longer a single entity and change is constant."
"To this day (the Air Force) continues to go through an incredible transformation," he said. "We are not just reducing the overall size of the force, we are changing the structure of the Air Force and how we do things. I think this will lead to a more capable, powerful and flexible force."
Colonel Dunn; his wife; their two kids, Shaw and Morgan; and their golden retriever, Maggie; arrived at Columbus AFB in July after serving as the Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Colonel Dunn sees himself as not only a leader, but an enabler.
"My goal here is to serve and inspire the men and women of Columbus AFB to complete the wing's mission," said Colonel Dunn. "I firmly believe everyone wants to do a good job and I want to remove any barriers in their way if possible."
"My approach to base issues, when possible, is to get input from the BLAZE Team and work together to find those 'win-win' solutions. ," he said. "While this method is harder and more time consuming, I believe the base maintains a higher overall sense of morale and a greater sense of ownership in the solution and ultimately leads to better, long-term outcomes."
"The community and base have opened their arms to me and my family and really made us fell at home here," said Colonel Dunn. "I am already incredibly impressed with the people of Columbus AFB and hope to help the BLAZE Team raise the bar even further."